Thoughts on Gains: Vertical Dieting

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If you’re into lifting and don’t know who Stan Efferding is then shame on you!

(Click HERE to learn more about the White Rhino and visit his YouTube page HERE).

If you do then I’m sure you have heard him talk about his diet routine when he was competing in powerlifting and bodybuilding, especially when training with Flex Wheeler.

Listen to him enough, and you might hear him say something called “VERTICAL DIET.”

When I heard Stan say and describe this diet philosophy I got excited. The reason is  because that is exactly how I structure my own diet!

I was shocked, and excited to know that I follow the same diet philosophy as Stan. This made me say “I must be doing something right.”

Jokes aside, once Stan started to break down and share some thoughts on vertical dieting it all clicked for me. I realized that I was doing something that was maximizing the hard work I put in to the gym. This made me happy and excited to share the idea with everyone listening.

If you listen to the latest Juggernaut Training Systems (JTS) podcast with Stan (click HERE to watch on YouTube) he goes over this in more detail. He shares this was the diet he was on when he broke his records in powerlifting that helped him achieve a 2,303 total in his 40’s. Crazy.

Regardless, Stan is planning on releasing an eBook on vertical dieting in the future, but, in the meantime, I’ll break it down for you here in my own words, with my thoughts on the diet.

What is Vertical Dieting?

Vertical dieting is having a narrow selection of foods for carbs, fats, and protein that aim to maximize the nutrient density of what you are eating .

For instance, instead of having a wide spectrum of different foods on a daily and weekly basis, instead, you would have a small group of foods with a high nutrient density that constitute each macronutrient (protein, carbs, and fats).

For carbs, you may have rice, sweet potatoes, and oats. Protein, might be chicken, eggs, and steak. Fats might be avocado, coconut oil, and almonds. Throw in a select group of vegetables and fruits and you are set.

The purpose of a vertical diet is to BUILD EFFICIENCY.

Eating a narrow range of foods for each macronutrient allows this to happen because you train your body’s digestive system to be efficient at breaking down those foods, and getting the maximum nutrient absorption from it. This, in theory, causes less stress on your digestive system because it is not dealing with a diverse range of foods to digest, which may decrease the likelihood of inflammation in the gut.

This, over time, leads to less time the food is in your digestive system overall, which promotes greater meal frequency, less bloating in the gut, and enhances the chances you can use the actual nutrients from the foods you eat to their fullest potential when eaten.

Again, efficiency that leads to greater results from the nutrients consumed.

Concerns With Vertical Dieting

The largest concern with vertical dieting is whether or not you are getting the adequate micronutrients that your body needs, like vitamins and minerals.

Short answer is that you are.

This is my opinion, at least.

Vertical dieting may seem counter intuitive to one of the most popular notions in dieting — “eating a wide and diverse range of food to cover all the nutrients that your body needs” — but the vertical diet philosophy satisfies this. It’s because it is all about building efficiency at breaking down the foods you consume and the nutrients they hold. If you eat dense foods on this diet, which is recommended, then you should have no problem.

For example, if you pick carb sources that lack nutrient density, such as white bread and pasta, then you may have a problem with certain B-vitamins and fiber. However, if you pick brown rice, sweet potatoes, oats, and/or maybe quinoa as your primary sources of carbs then you are eating nutrient rich foods that provide you with plenty of micronutrients and fiber that your body demands. As a result, eating a select 2 or 3 dense sources of carbs, or any macronutrient, will give you a high return on your investment (ROI) for the food you eat.

This aids in the recovery process after hard workouts, so your muscles and surrounding tissues get the nutrients they need to repair and grow back stronger, faster, resulting in muscle hypertrophy and strength gains.

Another concern with vertical dieting is that it gets boring, and thus, not sustainable long-term.

This may be true to an extent, but if your goal is truly to maximize your muscle and strength gains then it is something that you will just have to get over.

Also, you can mix and match your food, add spices, and cook your food in different ways that make it more appetizing.

Finally, I believe the 80/20 rule applies to the vertical diet, like many other diets. For example, if 80% of the foods you eat are the foods within your vertical diet, then you can leave the last 20% to eat different types of food. This does not mean you binge on McDonald’s and Krispy Kreme over the weekend, but it means you might have something different than what’s on the menu most days.

This way you are still getting much of the benefits of vertical dieting, yet adding some flavor to your diet and breaking up some of the monotony.

Conclusion

Like with any diet, vertical dieting aims at giving you results. For this diet, in particular, it will help you have less decision fatigue of foods to eat. This makes preparing your food easier, which lessens the probability of eating out or choosing poor quality foods.

The vertical diet will also allow you to improve your digestive system’s efficiency at breaking down food, making it easier, over time, to absorb the nutrients found in the foods that you are eating in this diet philosophy. This will aid you in your recovery efforts after hard workouts by having greater ability to assimilate the nutrients found in the foods that you are eating. Thus, improving the likelihood for more gains.

Through this and improvements in increasing your ability to meat your meal frequency goals, along with decreasing your chances for bloating and inflammation in the gut, makes it worth trying.

If you doubt this philosophy I encourage you to give it a try because it easily fits any style of diet, such as paleo, keto, slow-carb, vegan, 33/33/33, etc. It is because the vertical diet allows you to pick and choose the best foods for you in each diet type giving you the ability to satisfy those requirements. This makes it sustainable for you while receiving the benefits of a vertical diet, as opposed to a horizontal one that allows you to eat anything in sight.

Leave me a comment down below and tell me what you think about this, and what it means for your diet.

As always, thanks for stopping by and reading.

Until next time, be strong and be you.

(Photo Credit)

Success Factors for Fitness and Health: Free Download

Hey everyone!!

I’m excited to announce that I’m offering my health guide, Success Factors of Health, as FREE to DOWNLOAD for anyone looking to improve their health and performance, both inside and out of the gym.

In the guide, you will find the four success factors you need to optimize daily to better achieve the health and fitness you are looking to reach.

They are simple, yet difficult in practice to accomplish, so I’ll go in detail through each one and present facts about each factor, and methods to better achieve reaching each one adequately.

To download my SUCCESS FACTORS of HEALTH guide, click HERE.

As always, thank you for stopping by, and if not a subscriber please subscribe.

Until next time be strong and be you!

Best,

Cody

Should You Workout Fasted…MY EXPERIENCE

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Working out or training fasted.

  • Does it work for fat lost?
  • Does it hinder your strength and burn your muscle?
  • Is it even safe?

I’m sure if you’ve been working out for awhile you have probably heard some talk regarding this subject and these questions.

With that said, I am not here to present a body of evidence for or against fasted exercise, although I do advocate it. All I will do is give you my honest experience training fasted, and the results from it, giving you a new perspective allowing you to determine whether or not it is worth trying for you.

Yes, my experience is anecdotal evidence, but that does not make it useless.

At one time, or another, everything that has been studied in the fitness arena has been anecdotal. That’s why there are studies because someone says this or that works and it is then studied. That said, use my experience for what it’s worth: my experience.

My Fasted Training

Over the last 4 years, I have worked out in a fasted state regularly.

What exactly is considered a fasted state?

To me, fasting is not eating anything for 8 hours or more.

For example, if you stopped eating at 9:00pm and had breakfast the next day at 7:00am, then you would have fasted for 10 hours.

With that said, I have trained fasted for as much as 3 to 4 times per week (currently, I am training twice a week fasted) for approximately the last 4 years. These fasted workouts are the same type of workouts I do if I wasn’t fasting. I’m lifting heavy weights, pushing myself as hard as I can, and not going light.

What has my experience been like?

It’s been great.

How do I measure that?

I measure that based on my level of strength week-to-week, my body composition (weight and body fat percentage), and just how I feel overall the rest of the day compared to other days I do not work out fasted.

I know some of that measure is subjective, but measure nonetheless. During my time training fasted, I’ve kept my level of strength, improved it, and increased my lean muscle mass, as well as endurance.

How do I do I train fasted?

Typically, the night before I exercise fasted, I stop eating anywhere from 8 to 10pm, based upon my current schedule. I typically wake around 7am, and arrive at the gym from 8:30 to 9am. Between that time, I hydrate as soon as I wake by drinking lots of water, usually 32 to 50 ounces, and do some light stretching and mobility exercises before the gym. Next, I drink a branched chain amino acid (BCAA) supplement before I leave.

Once I arrive to the gym, I do my warm-up routine and start my workout. During my workout, I’ll drink plenty of fluids and take more BCAAs to keep going hard until the end. After my workout, I might take more BCAAs or, finally, break my fast and eat a protein bar or my post workout meal (it all depends).

Importance of BCAAs

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Now, let me explain to you why I take BCAAs while training fasted.

I’m sure many of you have your own opinion on them, but I do believe they are a supplement worth taking, especially if you are going to work out fasted.

BCAAs are the amino acids that first break down when you start to workout once your muscle begins to break down. They are leucine, isoleucine, and valine, and are essential amino acids. This means they must be obtained through the diet (virtually in all major sources of protein, like any meat, eggs, etc.) and/or supplementation. BCAAs have been heavily studied and have shown to have positive influence on protein synthesis, adding lean muscle mass, and in some instances fighting fatigue during a workout.

(Click HERE  and HERE to learn more about BCAAs and studies on them).

From working out fasted and not taking them, to working out fasted and taking them, I do 100% feel a difference.

For example, if I do not take them I notice that I cannot train with as much as intensity. I feel weaker, have less endurance, and do not get as good of a pump if I skip out on them while training fasted. In contrast, when I take them fasted and workout I feel much more alive, energetic, my endurance and strength are at expected levels, and I get a better pump. A noticeable difference.

How do I know?

Lots of experimentation with myself.

Keyword: MYSELF.

This is what works out for me, and taking BCAAs helps me maximize my fasted workouts. I cannot feel weak and not get the work in that I need to, especially if I am going to lift heavy. I do not want any excuses holding me back. I have repeatedly got new PRs training fasted, and BCAAs are a critical factor in that.

The video below is me hitting a new all-time squat PR last week at 385 pounds around 188 pounds body weight (and beltless!).

The squat felt great, even though I had to grind it out. No issues with my back, and all while training fasted with BCAAs.

Fasted Training Benefits

The reason why I train fasted are many, but below are the main reasons why:

  • I want to stimulate fat loss.
  • I want to challenge my body to perform at different times.
  • It is more convenient for me.
  • I think it helps increase glucose sensitivity, and elevate testosterone and growth hormone production.
  • It helps boosts my metabolism, and maintain a healthy weight for me.

(Click HERE to learn more about fasted training benefits and how to start, and HERE for an interesting insulin study comparing fasted and non-fasted workouts).

For me, all these benefits are great, and the number one reason why I do fasted workouts is to help stimulate fat-loss and control my weight. The difference is astounding to me, and I love it. I feel leaner afterwards, and I notice that I can keep my weight under control a lot more when I do consistent fasted workouts.

The one thing you and I must do, however, is keep your fasted workouts and the routine you do to prepare for them consistent.

This way, I think, you will have more success in maximizing the benefits of training fasted, while progressing like you want during your training.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of your experience with fasted workouts, I suggest you re-evaluate your thoughts and give it a shot.

Again, the worst thing you could do is be scared of training fasted. Keep your preparation routines consistent, and prioritize and/or schedule your days to where it fits your calendar. For example, trying intermittent fasting (or feasting, depending how you look at it) will aid in your pursuit of training fasted.

Is it a one-all solution to exponentially improve muscle building, strength, endurance, etc.?

No, but I DO THINK you can feel a significant and positive difference if you do it right.

That is why I highly recommend giving it a shot. It may feel draining at first, but if you make sure to hydrate, take a solid BCAA supplement (I take a brand called Scviation), and do it earlyish in the morning, I think you will really come to like it.

As always, thanks for stopping by and reading. If it calls you please comment down below, and if not a subscriber please subscribe.

Until next time, be strong and be you!

(Photo Credit: Main photo)

(Photo Credit: BCAA)

Free Strength and Muscle Building Program and an Outline to Smash Your Strength Goals

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In the past 6 months, I have really tried to be much more methodical and organized in my approach to get stronger and lift more weight.

Before then, all I really tried to do was lift heavy with no particular approach, and was haphazardly moving from one programming style, like 5×5 or 5-3-1, to the next, and hoping to hit a goal in any one of the big lifts (squat, deadlift, bench press, and overhead press). It had some good results for awhile, but I noticed that I was hitting plateaus like crazy, and finding it hard to get stronger, despite battling injuries for the past few years.

As a result, I figured there had to be a better way, so I really sat down and started to program things, and developed my own basic approach after trying different ways of lifting, and actually sticking with it.

Following my own program, I hit new PRs in the back squat, strict overhead press, sumo deadlift (I do sumo the majority of the time because of my back), and incline bench press totaling over 130 pounds in six months. I added 40 pounds to my back squat, 30 pounds for my strict overhead press, 40 pounds to my sumo deadlift, and 20 pounds to my incline bench press (I typically like to do incline more than flat, based on preference and passed injuries).

These are the before and after numbers:

Progress on Lean Muscle Building Programming

Lift

Start Finish

Total Increase

1.    Squat (beltless)

315

355

40

2.    Sumo Deadlift (beltless)

405

445

40

3.   Incline Bench Press (beltless)

255

275

20

4.    Strict Overhead Press (beltless)

155

185

30

Max Totals

1130

1260

130

Weight (in pounds) 182 188
Body Fat % 14.00 13.50
Time Frame: August 2016 to January 2017

In addition, I added about 6 to 8 pounds of muscle to my frame (started at ~182lbs an now I’m ~188lbs), and dropped one-half percent of body fat, from 14.0% to 13.5%.

I know these results sound absurd — to a degree they are — but let me provide you context about me, regarding my lifting career, and past injuries to evaluate this progress, from August 2016 to present:

  • I first lifted a barbell when my Dad bought me a bench and weight set at 14 years old.
  • I started doing all of the “Big 3” lifts (back squat, deadlift, and bench press) when I was 17 because I wanted to play football my senior year of high school (and I did — I played offensive guard, despite my shortness, lol).
  • I dislocated my right knee at 14 years old, and then subluxed (partial dislocation) the same knee at 15, dislocated it again at 17, and then one more time at 18. Finally, at age 22, I had arthroscopic surgery on my right knee to take out loose bodies, and clean out damaged cartilage and tissue. (Glad I did because it feels so much better! Shout out to Great Basin Orthopaedics in Reno, NV for my surgery.).
  • I experienced a grade 2 sprain on my right shoulder labrum when I was 17, during football practice (ended my season…booo).
  • I suffered a grade 2 sprain on my left pectoralis minor when I was 18, while trying to bench press.
  • In December of 2013, at age 21, I severely strained my lower back, possibly herniating a disc in my lumbar spine, most likely between L2 down to L4 (one of those). (Click HERE to learn more about my back and my rehab process here).
  • After my back injury, I did not try heavy lifting for 4 months, then a total of 9 more months after re-aggravating the injury, and participated in mostly body-weight exercises, light weights, circuits, and running, during that time (roughly July 2014 to March 2015).
  • I begin lifting again at 23 (around late March/early April 2015), testing myself slowly and paying big attention to relearning and locking in technique.
  • After my whole experience, obsessive self study, becoming a certified personal trainer, and having clients of my own, I started my own program during August/September 2016, after planning it in late May through July 2016.

That is the basic time-line for me and my lifting career, so I really only consider myself a serious lifter for the last 6 months, despite lifting consistently for almost the last 2 years (after my back injury). In my own opinion, it may be 10 years since I started lifting, but I am only in the beginning intermediate stage at best as a lifter (I measure lifter based on strength in the lifts, and by knowledge and technique practiced).

That said, I used myself as a guinea pig for this program I put together, and wanted to offer this program to everyone starting to lift, or at the beginning stages of their intermediate stage, in their lifting career.

My program I’m sharing with you is completely free, and a guide to get you started to making more strength and muscle gains.

DOWNLOAD MY FREE STRENGTH and MUSCLE BUILDING PROGRAM BY CLICKING this link: Lean Muscle Building.

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What’s in the Program?

In the program, you’ll find basic principles about building muscle and strength, along with how to warm-up, recover, maintain your body, and what to generally eat to get stronger. I also give you freedom in the program to incorporate varying levels of weights used, and variations to the main lifts, like front or pause squats, stiff-legged or Romanian deadlifts, and pendlay barbell rows.

I wanted my program to be flexible, as to factor in for individual concerns, levels of strength and technique, and add excitement to your training, in which you can build the most muscle and strength while using it. 

Again, my program is free because I want it to be that way, since I care about helping everyone out there avoid my mistakes, and understand basic knowledge that will help you in the early to mid early stages of your lifting career.

Extra: Strength Outline Progression

In addition to the free strength and muscle program giveaway, I want to share what I saw strongman athlete BRIAN ALSRUHE explain on YouTube in his most recent video.

(Click HERE to watch his programming method, and please subscribe to his channel because he has some of the best content out there for strength, conditioning, programming, and building strength).

In his video, Brian explains how to structure your basic programming progress for the year.

If you do not have time to watch the video (almost 25 minutes, but worth the watch), I encourage you to watch it later, but for the time being I’ve broken it down using MY PERSONAL NUMBERS, and added a few extra elements in the table below.

2017 Program Progression
Lift Current/Goal Max (in lbs.) Avg. Q max ↑ in weight Q1

(Jan-Mar)

Q2

(Apr-Jun)

Q3

(Jul-Sep)

Q4

(Oct-Dec)

1.    Squat 355/405 13 368 381 394 405
2.    Deadlift 445/500 14 459 473 487 500
3.    Bench       Press 275/315 10 285 295 305 315
4.    Overhead Press 185/225 10 195 205 215 225
Big 3 Total (current/goal): 1075/1220
Big 4 Total (current/goal): 1260/1445
Current body weight/body fat %: 188lbs/13.5%
Goal body weight/body fat %: 190-195lbs/12.0-12.5%

The table you see above is my current strength goal outline for 2017. Everything you see in there is what I’m lifting right now, and what I plan to hit throughout the year broken up by quarter (each quarter is 3 months and that is why there are 4).

With these goals, I also have other goals, like achieving a specific body weight and body fat percentage. For me, that is important, so that is why I have it there (I encourage you to do so also). I value conditioning and athletic movements, in addition to lifting heavy like a powerlifter, so that may impact my strength and goal numbers, but I think if I do it right, I will be fine.

The Lean Muscle Building program I put together has these athletic and conditioning elements integrated into the program, so it is not like it is something entirely new (although I do plan on adding some extra conditioning elements to most workouts, and I encourage you to add any extra work that you need the most help with, and what is most valuable to you).

I must also note from Brian’s video, he explains depending on the stage of your development, as in beginner to advanced lifter stages, you will have different strength goals and rates of progress. For instance, if you are a beginner you will typically have a faster rate of increase. In contrast, if you’re an intermediate to advanced lifter then you’re rate of progress will be in smaller increments and less overall, since you most likely have bigger numbers.

Final Thoughts

Lastly, I will note that all the things you do outside of training, such as getting good nutrition, rest, having proper recovery, and all that good stuff is essential to your rate of progress.

If you fail outside the gym you will fail in the gym. Period.

Ultimately, the level of consistent work and dedication you put into it will be the deciding factor on your rate of progress.

What will help you is a program to guide you, and that is why I made this program for you: to serve as a guide to get stronger and build lean muscle.

I encourage you to EMAIL me any questions at builtfromstrength@gmail.com for any questions about the Lean Muscle Building program, or any question you may have about getting stronger, adding muscle, losing weight, or anything else of that nature.

(Visit my contact page HERE and my about page HERE).

AGAIN, IF YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY, PLEASE CLICK HERE to DOWNLOAD THE PROGRAM.

As always, thanks again for stopping by and reading, and if not a subscriber, please subscribe.

Until next time, be strong and be you!

Thoughts on Progress and Making Gains: Intensity

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Listen.

If you’re in the gym what’s your goal?

PROGRESS.

It’s that simple.

Of course, we have specific goals we’re trying to attain, like losing weight or gaining muscle, but at the end of the day, we’re trying to progress in some way.

Now, I can’t say for you, but I want to make more gains.  I’m not just talking muscle wise, but increasing my strength (that’s number 1 for me), controlling my body better, and being in better condition.

Doable?

Absolutely.

Easy?

No.

So, what do we need if we want any progress and gains to happen, whether building muscle, strength, power, endurance, flexibility, aesthetics, etc?

First, we have to be committed to the process.

The moment you realize that you’ll be in a much better place. But, if you’re reading this then I’m assuming you’re already committed to getting stronger and into better shape, so what else do we need?

Intensity.

We need intensity because it’s the force that gives us the ability to change our bodies for the better.

Try doing a heavy squat or deadlift without intensity…not gonna happen.

Not only will it not happen there’s a good chance that you’ll snap yo shit up too.

Not good.

So, how do we be intense?

There are many answers, but I think you got to want it. You got to want to lift heavier, run faster, jump higher, get a bigger booty, or whatever else you’re trying to accomplish.

If you want it then odds are you’ll be more intense and work hard for it.

Why?

Because it will matter to you. You’ll start to understand that to get to “X” I have to do A, B, and C first, like doing things outside the gym to be successful in the gym (click HERE to know what I’m talking about).

This will lead to more intensity in the gym because you’re connected with the work you’re doing to achieve your goal (strength, power, aesthetics, functionality, etc.) by not wanting the effort you put in to go to waste.

So, what exactly is intensity:

Doing something with the highest force you’re capable of doing.

Simple as that.

Now, don’t get it twisted. Just because you or I have intensity doesn’t mean we’ll progress in a linear fashion. Rarely is progression strictly linear. However, if you’re lacking intensity during your workouts you’re selling yourself short of your full potential, and not working hard enough. Intensity gives us passion, and that extra effort we need to progress further, with more efficiency.

You may have the best program in the world tailored to your every need, but if you don’t show up and train with intensity, and just work really freaking hard, then you’ll leave behind gains and progress that were there waiting for you.

Sounds like a no-brainer, but rarely is intensity consistently practiced.

Do you have to be so intense that you become so serious that you become an asshole about it, and that gym douche bag who grunts and yells with every rep, and purposefully puffs his chest out with arms held wide (a.k.a. imaginary lat syndrome).

NO.

In fact, I encourage you to have fun, smile, and laugh often through your workout (check out this article about smiling more in the gym by clicking HERE).

With that said, when it’s time to step-up to the plate, or rather the barbell, bench, rack, or pull-up bar, you better give it your best intense effort.

Don’t be shy or timid about it. Just do it.

Recently, for example, I did just that — I was timid. I tried a heavy single in the squat and approached it with apprehension. I’m ashamed of it, but I won’t lie. I let the negative insurgency get the best of me by psyching myself out. I was out of my flow and lacked intensity.

But, you know what? I came back for a second time and I squatted 355 to full depth like it was nothing…easy.

The first time I squatted the barbell I was weak with no intensity, and almost failed (in my mind I did).

Second time, however, I let myself go, and brought out the intensity I needed to do it right and smashed it.

I’m on my way to 405, which is a big deal to me, so why am I holding back?

There’s no reason to, so that’s why showing up with intensity matters because that’s how we break plateaus and hit PRs.

Remember, if you fail you can always try again.

But, what fails your progress is not giving the intense effort to do whatever we’re working on in the gym with unrelenting fervor, and passion to get better in some way — stronger, faster, bigger, leaner, discovering character, or whatever it may be — no matter how small the improvement.

(Click HERE to get what I’m saying).

That’s why we need to be intense when we train. It will look different person to person, but just be intense in your own way, and you’ll be on your way to making more gains than you thought you could.

If you don’t believe just look at the dude pictured for this article. It’s none other than Stan “The White Rhino” Efferding (a.k.a. the strongest bodybuilder in the world). He’s a freak of nature with stupid strength, and one of the leading authorities and people in the fitness industry to get strong and build muscle.

He’ll tell you first hand that the programming doesn’t matter as much as you think it does. You have to want it and just train freaking hard (just listen to his rant about it HERE — worth the 15 minutes).

And, try not to be intimidated by Stan, or someone like him, either.

The point is that you can have your own remarkable results (like Stan), in some way, if you just train with some fire in you.

Whatever makes you have that remember it, and you’ll start to notice your progress accelerate, not to mention you’ll feel great at the same time. Once that happens, you’ll begin to understand that intensity matters, and start to do the little things (getting better sleep, eating better foods, etc.) that help you be more consistent.

Consistency leads to success. Throw in intensity, and you’ve got a winning combination to smash your goals.

It’s a struggle, but a struggle worth doing.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to comment down below to share your thoughts.

Until next time, be strong and be you!

(Photo Credit)

3 Steps to Make Your Fitness Resolution Last in 2017

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It’s that time of year again…

New Year’s Resolutions!

Year after year we have these resolutions to improve our bodies and our lives. With that said, how often do these resolutions really last, especially for our health?

For most of them probably not long.

After a month or two, even a week, they fall apart and fade away, leaving us in the same position we were in before.

Now, I cannot to speak to the financial or personal/family areas of your life, but I can speak to fitness, since that is what I know best.

And, from my experience losing over 100 pounds, adding 30 pounds of muscle, and keeping the extra weight off for 4 plus years now, I know what works and what does not with your fitness and health.

Next, I will lay out 3 steps to help you integrate your fitness and health resolutions to help you make them last for the long-term.

At the end of the day, what is a resolution if it does not last right?

Let’s get to it…

Step 1: Think of Your Resolution as Part of a Vision by Writing it Down…Literally

The first step is to think about your fitness resolution as a vision of your ideal “you” of how you picture yourself being healthy and in shape.

This will be different for everybody and there is no wrong answer. All you should do is think about that person and ask some questions for him or her, being as specific as possible.

How does that person look, feel, and think?

How does that person feel day-to-day in terms of physical health?

Is your ideal you someone who has an abundance of energy, rarely gets sick, and is able to think clearly and not get overly tired by the 2pm crash?

(Click HERE to learn more about your workout/fitness philosophy)

Whatever the traits and characteristics are write them down.

I truly believe if you write down the ideal vision or version of you, in terms of physical health and fitness, that it will start to manifest itself in the real world. You are basically telling God, the universe, and YOU, that what you’re writing down is important and is where you want to go.

From there, you’ll start to notice a shift day-after-day of you taking action and thinking thoughts consistent of fulfilling that vision.

This may sound like hippie nonsense, but I think you become what you consistently think.

Is this hard?

Absolutely, but it will become more attainable the more you do it.

So, think about your ideal healthy and fit self constantly by envisioning that person when you write it down, and as you continue the new year day-by-day.

It will help shift your mindset to that of your vision and make it into a reality.

Step 2: Implement and Integrate

The next step in the resolution process is to implement and integrate your resolution into your daily life.

All the steps are critical, but without this one your vision will fail.

Implementing your vision into your daily life requires consistent effort and hard work on your part to achieve. This means that you must do it, even when you feel like you don’t want to.

It is very difficult, but you literally have to force yourself to do it, and almost brainwash yourself that “this new path of resolution I’m going on is the best thing for me and must be done no matter what”.

If you have a “no-nonsense and can’t quit” attitude you will achieve this step more effectively and efficiently.

What does this implementation and integration look like?

It looks like your shopping cart at the grocery — filled with a wide color spectrum of vegetables, lean meats, healthy fats/oils, fruits, and whole grains, instead of cookies, candies, potato chips, and other junk.

It looks like going to bed no later than 11 o’clock and waking at 7am, with a tall glass of water and 10 minutes of stretching.

It looks like choosing water over soda and juice, and prepping your food instead eating out twice a day.

It looks like giving up things occupying your time that have no place, like excessive partying, drinking, television, and usage of technology, and instead more time training, reading, and good conversation.

That is what some of the implementation and integration process looks like that must be done with literal action.

Can you cut out all the bad and go cold turkey on all the “bad”?

Sure, but you should not expect that out of yourself because this is a gradual process.

Start with a small handful of areas most critical to you (your priorities) and go from there.

After you build a good foundation for those areas, with good behavioral action, you will be able to tackle others actions on your list.

Remember…a resolution does not happen in a day. Often times it can take years to fully accomplish and integrate into your life to become the new you.

And, perhaps, that is the most important thing for you to understand and accept.

Resolutions take time to fully manifest. Do not let our microwave society force you to think otherwise.

Don’t let this discourage you though. Things that matter and that are important often take a good amount of time to achieve or see come to fruition.

Implement and integrate is step 2.

Step 3: Believe You are That Person and It Can Happen

The third step in this process is to believe that whatever vision of resolution you set for yourself will happen and you will be the new you.

It could be losing 50 pounds, deadlifting 500 pounds, or running a mile in 6 minutes flat. Regardless, you have to believe that you are that person, and going back to step 1, that you envision that person and how that person feels constantly.

This will create a connection to your ideal self that it can and will happen, if not something very close to it.

There have been multiple times where athletes envision themselves finishing a race, like a 100 meter dash, in a certain time and they did it. It’s because it works and does help you to further move forward to that goal or vision.

If you constantly meditate on that vision and believe that you can become that person doing that thing, or becoming that new healthier you, it will happen.

Believe me.

I’ve been there.

Concluding Thoughts

The resolution idea I think is great, but often lacks real sustainability and tangible results because we are not specific in our resolutions, and fail to implement it with action that will make it a reality.

Do resolutions succeed?

Yes.

Do they fail?

Yes.

However, if your mindset is right and you follow some sort of process as outlined above, you will probably have a much greater likelihood to succeed in what you are aiming for.

Here’s to the new resoltions of ours to succeed and happen.

Happy New Year Everybody!

Catch you next time, and stay tuned for more in 2017!

-Cody

(Photo Credit)

Building Muscle or Losing Weight? Cut the nonsense and focus on the 20%.

So, you want to build muscle or lose weight, huh?

What are you going to do to make it happen?

Go on a fad diet, listen to your favorite celebrity “success” story, or take endless supplies of nonsense supplements?

No. Of course, not.

Please avoid these things because they won’t give you the real results you’re looking for that you want to last.

What I want you to do, instead, is rewire your thinking and perspective on health and fitness by focusing 20% of your efforts that will give you 80% of your targeted results (i.e. building muscle, losing weight, increasing mobility, etc.).

What is this 20% idea you ask?

Well, it’s the idea that 80% of your results will come from only focusing on the 20% of the things you do with a particular endeavor  that will lead to getting the majority of your results.

In regards to health and fitness, the 20% are only a few things — in my opinion — but they are the most important to practice since they will give you the majority of the results you’re looking for and allow you to form good habits, and ultimately lifestyle changes that lead to incredible results that last.

The first thing I want you to do is be committed to your change (i.e. building muscle or losing weight).

Without commitment you will fail because there is no connection with what you’re trying to achieve, which will cause poor effort and consistency, lack of motivation and will to keep going, especially when you don’t feel like doing anything more. Without commitment you won’t finish your goal and will ultimately feel discouraged and even go further in the direction that you are trying to go away from. We don’t want this to happen, so understand that it’s a long-term commitment to changing for the better and it will most likely take several months, maybe a couple of years, and not days and weeks. Don’t believe that 2-3 day or week nonsense blasted over the media.

Be committed for the long haul and you’ll encounter great success and wondrous things you didn’t think you could do.

Trust me…I’m a 100 pounds lighter because of it.

The second thing I want you want to do is audit your diet. 

This means that you truly look at everything you eat to know where your calories are coming from, so you can physically see the sources of your macronutrients and make the appropriate change(s) (the MyFitness Pal app is a great start for this). For example, if you drink two sodas a day, that’s drinking close to 80 grams of sugar that supply you with empty — and what some may call toxic — calories that converts to fat if not used immediately once the body processes it through its liver.

If we break it down that’s 320 calories per day, 2,240 calories per week, which adds up to 33 pounds per year!!!

Isn’t that crazy!?

I think so, and that’s why an audit is so beneficial because it will tell you where you can easily cut out calories and make healthy dietary changes, which ultimately form good eating habits.

Now, I won’t debate whether or not sugar is toxic here — although I do think there’s is overwhelming evidence that it is — but the point is that those are calories that add up fast, especially when they are so easy to consume. This is 100% avoidable, so the goal is to find a healthy replacement to take you off the soda, such as replacing it with water or a healthy zero calorie beverage (like iced tea sweetened with stevia).

(If you want to find more about sugar and it’s effects, click here and/or watch Robert Lustig’s lecture on YouTube called “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” or more recently Sugar Coated on Netflix.)

Once you complete your audit of your diet, it will allow you to make the appropriate dietary changes, like the soda example, that will accelerate your weightloss and/or muscle building. This is what we want and ultimately forming good eating habits that support you in your ultimate goal/vision for yourself.  Just like you formed unhealthy eating habits you can form healthy eating habits and a dietary audit will help this happen.

The third thing I want you to do is focus on the right exercise for you.

We’re all different and we all have different goals, so finding which exercises to do and not to do paramount to achieving them. For instance, if you’re a young dude, like myself, and trying to build lean muscle and strength a powerlifting program would be a great place to start. In contrast, if you’re 68 and want to lose some weight and have a firmer and more functional body, that’s probably not your best option. Doing lots of low intensity cardio (walking, especially on an empty stomach, for example), and doing yoga and pilates for a muscle hypertrophy and mobility program, is much better for that person.

This is because we’re all different, so that’s why we need to zero in on a few particular modes of exercises (walking, weights, flexibility, calisthenics/gymnastics, yoga, sport, outdoors, etc.) to achieve it. There’s no point in investing your time in an exercise mode and/or program that ultimately doesn’t support you accomplishing your specific goals.

I love lifting weights and that’s largely because that’s one of my primary modes to achieve my fitness level I’m seeking. I want to be strong, well-built, yet mobile and flexible at the same time. That’s why I incorporate it into my training regimen, in addition to lots of functional mobility exercises (kettlebells, calisthenics, etc.). For you, however, that may not be the case. That’s why you need to figure out which modes of exercises to invest yourself in.

A great place to start is coming up with a workout or training philosophy for yourself.

It will enable you to focus your efforts, time, and energy on the right things, which are priceless. This allows you to dig a little deeper into your why (click here to learn what I’m talking about) and you’ll uncover the right foods to eat, what types of exercises you should be doing, and, most importantly, learning the value of commitment.

This was my philosophy for my weightloss journey of  100 pounds (I’ve kept it off for over 4 years now), gain 30 pounds of lean muscle, and propelled me to become a personal trainer.

That’s why I encourage you to have the same mindset and philosophy of the 80/20 principle for your health and fitness.

And, that’s it guys!

Those are my three principles that enable you to make up the 20% that’ll give you the 80% of the results you’re looking for!

But, what do you think?

What are your experiences with achieving the health and fitness you want? What’s worked and what hasn’t with losing weight, gaining muscle, training for a Tough Mudder, or whatever else you’re trying to achieve?

Tell me by leaving a comment down below.

As always, thanks for stopping by and if you’re not a subscriber, please subscribe.

Until next time, be strong and be you.

(Photo Credit)